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5 Reasons Why Expats Can’t Go Back to Romania

Romania is the … last winner in the EU lottery. No, really. Romania is on the last place in Europe (granted occasionally is fighting Bulgaria) when it comes to all the important things – healthcare, standard of living, gay rights, etc, and among the first when it comes to bad stuff – corruption, political instability, teenage pregnancies to name just a few.

It is therefore completely understandable why so many Romanians choose to leave the country. From low educated people (cleaners, constructors) to overeducated brainiacs (scientists, physicians), people have been vigorously leaving Romania since the country joined EU in 2007. Romanians become expats for lot of reasons, but largely because they don’t feel respected as citizens in their country.

Being myself one of those expats, I know that most of us would gladly return home given any signs of social, political and economic recalibration. You do notice how I am not using the word “progress”, I don’t want to jinx it.

They say hope dies last. Well, mine is flickering. It really pains me to point the finger to my home country, but currently I do not really see much sign of – recalibration – (boy, am I delicate today!). Why? Because of these:

1. While Germany legalises gay marriage, Romania is taking actions against it. In May the Senate has okayed a referendum for changing the Constitution such that it would define family as composed by two people of different genders.
While you ponder about whether or not to oppose same sex marriage, I want to point out that this is not only about gay rights. This is a bigger puss that involves a quiet understanding between political parties in power and the Orthodox Church, and some manipulation tactics  in order to divert the ellectors from real problems Romania has.

2. Speaking about traditional family and gay rights: Following this incident, when a woman got dragged out of a anti-gay manifestation by police forces of Cluj Napoca, one of the most important cities in Romania, the mayor of the city decided to forbid gay pride parades altogether. Not anti-gay manifestations, ok?
This is revolting. The lack of dialogue, the fake reason, I don’t know which one is worse. Or maybe I should pick the threatening messages I got on Facebook for expressing my opinions on this matter…

3. Politics, more precisely the Social Democratic Party in power. People elected them last December based on some promises. Now the party has to deliver them. Of course they can do that only by decapitating what is left of our economy, namely imposing taxes on revenue or inventing new taxes, for example the solidarity tax. Hopefully this will not become law, otherwise winter is coming, says Cristian Muresan (unfortunately the article is only available in Romanian).

4. The environment is still below the line on political agenda. This article explains that the Government has decided to postpone taxing garbage till 2019, risking Romania being fined with €200.000/day as of 2020. To this, add massive illegal deforestations of Schweighofer and lack of recycling policies and well … then move to Iceland, because in Romania you will either drown in garbage or a flood.

5. Healthcare ever failing system. Following club Colectiv fire in October 2015, where over 60 people died and many more got mutilated for life, the new technocrat minister of health, Vlad Voiculescu, set the bases for a health care reform.
He did a great job as long as he could. In December 2016 came the elections and the ministry cabinet changed. Together with it, the reform basically stopped. Hospitals’ managers were changed on political grounds. New ones have been revealed to favour nepotism, make outrageous purchases for personal gain or simply be terribly bad at the job.

In the midst of all this nonsense, I find it really encouraging that the community #rezist that formed following the events in February this year, is as vigilent as ever. News travels fast, we help each other, we communicate better and easier. People are more informed about politics, are more civic. If this is enough to keep Romanians left in the country still going, we will have to wait and see.